Back in March, the Miami Dolphins made a pair of trades with the Jacksonville Jaguars that ultimately brought Julius Thomas and a conditional seventh round draft pick to Miami. But then a plot twist happened on Monday, as veteran offensive tackle Branden Albert - the player the Jaguars received - suddenly decided to retire from the NFL.
Whether it was a reaction to the fact that Dante Fowler was easily able to bring him down, his age and health, or perhaps even the fact that his quarterback Blake Bortles threw five interceptions in practice and demoralized him, Albert will not be the Jaguars' left tackle at the beginning of the season, and will instead move back to Miami to conduct his business from here on out.
Due to his retirement, the Dolphins will lose the 2018 seventh-round draft pick they acquired from the Jaguars
Albert played in 120 games for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, starting all but two of them. He was also voted to two Pro Bowls.
Classy to the end, Albert released a statement thanking the organizations who gave him a chance to play nine seasons in the NFL.
After nine seasons playing in the National Football League, I have decided to retire from the game that has given me so much, I would like to thank Mr. Khan and the Jaguars organization, Mr. Ross, Joe Philbin, Dennis Hickey and the Dolphins organization and Mr. Hunt, Carl Peterson, Herm Edwards and the Chiefs organization for providing me with the opportunity of a lifetime. GOD has blessed me with so much through football that I thought would never be attainable.
When the Dolphins found out that Albert had suddenly hung up his cleats after nine seasons in the NFL, members of the team briefly discussed the former Pro Bowler and what he meant to them, and it's clear that despite his earlier departure from Miami, the veteran left tackle was still held in very high regard.
"I was privileged to spend a few years with the guy." said Dolphins star pass-rusher Cameron Wake. "(He’s a) tremendous football player (and an) even better man. One of the guys who we always go back and forth (with on the field). I think we looked up to one another as far as being in the game for as long as we have and going through the things we had to (in order) to stay at the top for as long as we could. For him to be able to be able to have the career that he had and also be able to bow out on his own terms, my hat is off to him and I wish him the best.”
Current Dolphins head coach Adam Gase also made a statement regarding Albert's retirement, despite the somewhat odd fact that he was left out of the veteran player's official retirement statement.
“My respect level for him is extremely high. Even his career before he got here, he was an outstanding player and then him getting hurt … I didn’t understand really what he had to go through until I got here and his makeup and his ability to come back from that injury, just talking to trainers about what he did to be able to play again.
"That was even in question when that happened. It went from all accounts that I’ve been told that it was about as nasty as you can get. It just shows the toughness he has. The mental strength to be able to fight through and really prove everybody wrong and then come back and play at a high level and going to a Pro Bowl, being part of a team that he helped really get to the playoffs last year, getting injured and then coming back probably earlier than most guys would have, and him actually almost inspiring guys to play through a lot of injuries that most teams probably wouldn’t see guys out there.
"Guys were just trying to do everything they can for each other to win. I think he was a big part of the reason why we had success last year.”
There's no question that Albert left a big mark on the Dolphins franchise during his three year tenure. He was a perfect example of a leader and team player, even willing to mentor then-rookie Laremy Tunsil, who everyone - including Albert - knew would become the team's franchise left tackle.
Albert meant a lot to a lot of people in the Dolphins franchise, and he will be missed in the NFL. We all wish him luck in his future endeavors.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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